GAVI donors and partners agree to first pledging conference in June 2011 and announce early commitments to help save the lives of more than four million children by 2015

New York, 6 October 2010 - GAVI Alliance donors and partners agreed to convene a first pledging conference in June 2011 to ensure that the global health partnership has the necessary funding to introduce new vaccines against the two biggest killers of children - pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Despite the financial crisis, let's surprise everyone next June by ensuring that GAVI gets the funding it needs. GAVI's mission is too important to fail.

Mary Robinson, Chair of the GAVI Alliance Board

Saving children's lives - a call for action and resources for the GAVI Alliance

The strong commitment to GAVI's first pledging process was made at a well attended high-level meeting today entitled Saving children's lives - a call for action and resources for the GAVI Alliance. 

Chaired by the Governments of the United States and Norway, meeting participants discussed ways to fund programmes to avert an estimated 4.2 million future deaths through immunisation. GAVI needs to raise US$4.3 billion to scale-up immunisation programmes between 2010 and 2015.

Mary Robinson, Chair of the GAVI Alliance Board, summed up the deliberations by saying, "The right to health is a basic human right and the inequity that exists between those children who are lucky enough to be vaccinated and those who are not is shocking."

"Every one of us shares a collective responsibility to make a difference. Despite the financial crisis, let's surprise everyone next June by ensuring that GAVI gets the funding it needs. GAVI's mission is too important to fail."

Highlights of the meeting

  • Co-chairs Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Special Advisor for Health Policy, Office of Management & Budget, Executive Office of the President of the United States, and Mr. Espen Barth Eide, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway, welcomed a number of early commitments and encouraged other donors to return next year with firm pledges to fund GAVI's life-saving work.
  • "As President Obama said at the UN MDG summit, the U.S. aims to strengthen multilateral commitments and interactions in global development and global health. Because of where we are in our budget cycle, we are not in a position to make a commitment today, but you can count on the U.S. to strengthen our relationship and continue our commitment to GAVI," said US co-chair Dr. Emanuel.
  • "The successful meeting today sets the stage to mobilize the necessary resources to save the lives of more than four million people by 2015," said Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian co-chair. "Norway warmly welcomes the new commitments announced at the meeting and underlines that global health, and GAVI in particular, is high on the Norwegian agenda."
  • In line with GAVI's need to significantly scale up donor contributions, the Government of Australia set the pace by announcing a new multi-year commitment of US$ 58 million, double its previous annual contribution.
  • The Governments of Canada and Luxembourg, and the European Commission announced new commitments. Canada made a new commitment of CAD 50 million as part of its contribution to the G8 Muskoka Initiative. Luxembourg announced a new four-year grant of €4.1 million and the European Commission confirmed a forth-coming grant of €20 million.
  • The meeting welcomed Korea as a new donor and acknowledged its critical role as the host of the upcoming G20 summit.
  • Japan highlighted the alignment between GAVI's mission and its new global health policy and its hope to join the GAVI donor community in the coming months.
  • Outgoing GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt thanked those donors for taking the initiative and helping to build an "unstoppable momentum" towards next year's pledging event. After serving as CEO for the past six years, Dr Lob-Levyt will step down on 7 October.
  • Deputy CEO Helen Evans, who will be the interim CEO from 7 October following Dr Lob-Levyt's departure, spoke about the value of the GAVI partnership, the drive to make the Alliance even more performance driven, and the ongoing commitment to ensuring that every dollar makes a difference. "Making efficient and effective use of Alliance funding is a collective effort. GAVI remains committed to promoting increased efficiency and effectiveness and we will maintain pressure on cutting costs," Evans said. "But we cannot cost-save our way out of this funding challenge. Significant additional contributions will be necessary."
  • The Minister of Public Health for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr. Victor MaKwenge Kaput said, "Despite the logistical challenges, almost 13.5 million children were immunised with GAVI support between 2002 and 2009. We are looking forward to introducing the vaccine against pneumococcal vaccine because pneumonia is the biggest killer of children in DRC. And we are committed to paying our share of the vaccine costs."
  • The Minister for Health & Family Welfare of Bangladesh, Professor AFM Ruhal Haque, noted that immunisation has been a major factor in Bangladesh's success in cutting child mortality by 9% each year. He said GAVI's financial support has been critical. "We would not have been able to afford the new vaccines ourselves," the Minister said. "But we are also contributing government funds and are committed to continue to co-finance vaccines provided through GAVI."
  • China's Vice Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Li Yin, said that his country, which was once a recipient of GAVI funding, plans to offer expertise and other support to help developing countries introduce vaccines.
  • Saad Yehia Houry representing UN Children's Fund described how UNICEF is committed to work with the GAVI Secretariat to reduce vaccine prices while ensuring that supply is secure for countries that have introduced them. He said, "UNICEF is also keen to work with manufacturers to ensure that graduating countries can continue to access vaccines at affordable prices."
  • He reiterated the importance of pneumonia and diarrhoea vaccines in reducing child mortality and noted the importance of integrated prevention and treatment, signalling its sustained interest in bringing to GAVI its core competence on vaccine procurement and in-country efforts to reach the most vulnerable.
  • Susan McAdams of the World Bank said that as a founding member, Board member, technical and financial partner, the Bank is strongly committed to the goals of the GAVI Alliance. The Bank stated its commitment to a sustained engagement with GAVI through initiatives including the Health Systems Funding Platform and major innovative financing initiatives, notably the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) and the pilot Advance Market Commitment for pneumococcal vaccines (AMC). McAdams highlighted that vaccine introduction was a "most sensible development investment" strengthening economic and social infrastructure.
  • Flavia Bustreo of the World Health Organisation noted that it was one of the founding partners of GAVI and a key implementing partner, bringing to the partnership its expertise in immunisation policy, vaccine products qualification, M&E and technical support, as well as collaboration on the Health Systems Funding Platform (HSFP). She also recalled the extraordinary momentum in support to the MDGs following the recently concluded UN summit, and noted the opportune timing of discussing immunisation financing given the importance of immunisation as a core strategy to meet MDG4. WHO highlighted the role of GAVI that has not only introduced new vaccines, but contributed to increasing immunisation coverage worldwide and changed the vaccine market dynamics.
  • Several donors praised IFFIm as a cost-effective and flexible source of predictable funding for GAVI's future. Several IFFIm donors at the meeting encouraged others to consider IFFIm as a way of providing further support to GAVI. GAVI's leadership in developing innovative finance mechanisms was also seen as key to attracting not only more money for health, but also "more health for the money."
  • Several partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank, expressed their readiness to work with GAVI on developing new innovative finance mechanisms. GAVI said it would like to benefit from sovereign-led innovative finance initiatives (like the proposed currency transactions tax, or new solidarity levies) as well, and that it would need the support of our partners to do so. Participants in the meeting acknowledged that while innovative finance would never become the answer to GAVI's funding requirements, it was nonetheless a key component of the GAVI business model.
  • Flavia Bustreo of the World Health Organization said immunisation is one of the most cost-effective investments in global public health and a prerequisite for achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Strengthening immunisation services is a key element of the U.N. Secretary-General's new Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, she said.
  • Todd Summers from committed to a public advocacy campaign to "turn up the volume" in support of GAVI's funding needs. He put donor governments on notice that civil society organisations would help citizens monitor how well their governments fulfil commitments and would advocate to ensure GAVI gets the financing it needs.
  • Surendra Dodwadkar of the Serum Institute of India and a representative of developing country vaccine manufacturers expressed confidence in GAVI's life-saving role and announced a commitment to drive down current vaccine prices and assist in increasing immunisation coverage by providing increased volumes and accessibility in low-income countries.
  • GSK and Merck also spoke at the meeting and other manufacturers provided supportive statements that noted their critical role in delivering affordable vaccine prices, ensuring timely supply, and increasing R&D.
  • Several donors said they would explore additional funding that would be announced at the pledging meeting in June 2011.

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